July 22, 2003

July 22, 2003

The past two weeks have been a bitch! The professor has visited repeatedly and describes with almost religious fervor his plans for “Sanctuary.” I feel like an ancient artifact because, if he has his way, the professor will excavate Sanctuary like an archeological site in order to place me in my proper historical context. Ruth has threatened to rip “Sanctuary” apart and throw everything away if I don’t agree to the professor’s plan, and I’ve hired a lawyer to defend my right to keep "Sanctuary" private. Abe came all the way from New Jersey to plead with me to “stop acting like a jackass, Papa. You know Ruth’s going to have her way eventually. Wouldn’t it be better if all your stuff was in a university library, rather than destroyed? And, you know she’ll do it.”

“So, if I agree to this insanity,” I said, “all my journals, drawings and photographs will be put on microfilm. The paper originals will be filed away, and forgotten in the bowels of some dusty archive and I won’t have access to any of my own work.”

“Right now your things are in danger of being destroyed in that leaky old attic. It seems to me that the guts of a climate controlled archive would be a much safer place for your journals and art work than Sanctuary is. Everything’s lying around in total confusion. You haven’t been up there in 5 years.

“No, not since I was forced out of my house and made to come here to the “Prickly Needle Retirement Home.”

“Dad, that’s not fair. You know that the farm was too much for you to handle. You still have your car. You have your own apartment with your own things at Pine Needle. You have a family that cares about you. Your life isn’t so bad, is it?”

And, so it went, on and on, ad infinitum, ad nausium. I got more and more agitated as Abe argued. The problem is that he’s right most of the time. I am too old to take care of the farm. Just climbing the 3 floors of steps to “Sanctuary” is a 15 minute ordeal. That’s why I don’t go there. I have keys to the house at Orchard Hill. I can go any time I want. It’s just too much of an effort to do so. The last time I tried to climb those steps my heart went into overdrive, and I got so dizzy that I had to grasp the hand rail with both hands and wait for several minutes after climbing only 4 or 5 steps. I had to repeat the process 6 times before I stood before the attic door and the signs I put on it almost 50 years ago.

“Do not enter!”

“Forbidden territory.”

“Stay out!
This means you!”

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